Venerable Denmark Gannadeepa Thero

The most Venerable Denmark Gannadeepa was born in Denmark. Studying Buddhism through Chinese books, he heard about Sri Lanka. He wanted to find out more about this country so journeyed there in 1969. That same year he ordained as a monk at Polgasduwa Vihara under Kadugannawe Ganathilaka Bhikkhu. He was a scholarly monk, knowing six languages including Singhala and Pali as well as rural dialects of Sri Lanka.


He spent most of his time in poor rural areas of Sri Lanka. This was based on his view that rich people had already accumulated much merit as revealed by their favouable position in society. So he wanted to give an opportunity to poor people to make merit.

He followed the Vinaya strictly, lived very simply, sometimes staying in just a three walled kuti and he loved the Sutta Nipata. During his lifetime he lived in almost all the forest monasteries of Sri Lanka, most in Laggala. He always walked from temple to temple or monastery to monastery, never accepting a ride.


He built 20 kuties, available for other monastics to use once he moved on.


On August 11, 2020 he died of cancer. Many believe that he realized some of the stages of Awakening.


Ven. Nissarano gives the life story of Ven. Nyanadipa (another way to spell Gannadeepa) in this video.

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